An 8-year-old California boy, Jalen Bailey, who loves to bake runs a home-based bakery, where he creates and sells cookies, bread, muffins and tarts in hopes of earning enough money to buy a house for himself and his mom, Sharhonda Mahan.
This summer, when other kids his age are in swimsuits at the pool, Bailey is wearing his apron, hard at work in the kitchen. Instead of running around a ball field, Bailey is running a hand mixer, whipping up fresh batches of yummy treats.
“I just love to bake,” he tells PEOPLE. “It’s fun!” “I want to buy a house with a pool and a big back yard and a kitchen so me and my momma can bake and make memories.”
Bailey and his mom, a single parent, live in a small rental house. While still a pre-schooler, Bailey got started in baking by helping his mom during gift-giving season.
“I used to bake sweet potato pies to get extra money for the holidays,” says Mahan, 30, a nanny. “He was always in the kitchen, asking if he could help. I didn’t do it well at all,” Bailey says. “It took me 10 minutes to cut one sweet potato.”